Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta outlined six key focus areas that need revamping in order to jump start industrial transformation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) member countries.
On Sunday, 8 December 2019, Kenyatta cited human resource, agricultural industrialization, entrepreneurship and the growth of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s). He also highlighted improved regulatory and institutional frameworks as areas that ACP nations need to focus on in order to grow their economies.
Other areas identified by the Kenyan leader include the creation of an environment that supports innovation and technology transfer, and that which promotes private sector-led industrial development.
The President, who addressed a business summit ahead of Monday, 9 December 2019’s official opening of this year’s ACP summit, said the bloc’s member nations are endowed with immense resources which, if properly exploited, would help hasten the attainment of their development targets.
He cited the bloc’s population of over one billion people, who are largely the youth under the age of 35, as the engine that can drive industrial revolution of the country’s economies if equipped with the right skills.
“Given the right skills training and opportunities, this large reservoir of young people will become the engine that drives the transformation we seek as a group as well as individual countries,” the President noted.
On Kenya’s push towards full industrialization, the President said his administration is investing heavily in post-school training, especially in the acquisition of digital skills, to enable young Kenyans to access opportunities presented by the digital economy.
He called for a keener focus on the agricultural value chain through the establishment of stronger linkages between farmers and the agro-industry aimed at growing returns for farmers through increased access to markets.
“…because agriculture employs more than half of our workers, many of them poor; value addition and the integration of smallholder farmers into national and regional agriculture value chains, would contribute to more inclusive development,” he said.
The Kenyan leader told the ACP member states to offer an enabling environment for entrepreneurship to thrive especially and the growth of MSME’s.
He said MSME’s have the potential to fix the global employment challenge as well as address the needs of special interest groups such as the youth, women and the disabled persons.